Drawing the Barcelona Pavilion: Mies van der Rohe and the implications of perspectival space

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Journal Article
Journal of Architecture, 2016, 21 (2), pp. 210 - 243
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© 2016 RIBA Enterprises. This article investigates a drawing of the interior of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's 1929 German State Pavilion for the International Exposition at Barcelona. Investigations of the drawing take two forms. The first focuses on a close reading of the drawing, engaging with the work's facture', its method of production and its underlying diagram that structures and pilots meaning for viewers. This section develops a conceptual framing for understanding the drawing's critique of architecture's traditions. The second form of investigation takes a more historical approach. Here, investigation of Miesian scholarship in the context of the Berlin avant-garde during the mid- to late-1920s seeks answers to the questions that emerge from the drawing. Conclusions drawn in the paper show that there are consistencies in approach, especially with the way that other artists in Mies's circle have interpreted specific philosophical texts of the period. The article shows that, while philosophies that in more political circumstances took on a different influence, for artists of this period these same philosophies opened a critique of art's traditional rationale and the visualising structures implicit in those traditions.
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